25 February 2020
New Delhi: The Conservation Action Trust (CAT) and Shweta Wagh, founder of the Collective for Spatial Alternatives, on Tuesday filed a plea urging the Supreme Court to stay the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation's (BMC) reclamation work for the coastal road project to connect Marine Drive in south to suburban Borivali in north.
They contended before a Bench, headed by Chief Justice S.A. Bobde and comprising Justices B.R. Gavai and Surya Kant, the BMC was violating the apex court order by reclaiming more land than required for the Rs 14,000 crore 29.2 km project.
On December 17, the top court had stayed the Bombay High Court decision to quash the coastal road zone (CRZ) clearances granted to the project.
They submitted instead of 22 hectares of coastal land, 75 hectares had been reclaimed.
Solicitor General Tushar Mehta and senior advocate Mukul Rohatgi, appearing for the Maharashtra government and its authorities, opposed this by citing minimum requisite land for the project. "Can I stand in sea and build road," Rohatgi said and added some minimum facilities were required for the coastal road's construction.
The court asked the parties to bring on record through an affidavit whether 95 hectares land reclamation was required. It also asked the authorities concerned to examine the loss of livelihood of the local fishermen due to the construction activities.
The court will hear the matter after two weeks.
The apex court in its December order had restrained the BMC from carrying out any other development work, apart from the coastal road project, until further orders
The Bombay HC in July 2019 had quashed the CRZ clearances granted to the project, saying there was "serious lacuna" in the decision-making process and lack of proper scientific study.
The HC reportedly raised the issue of corals despite their "miniscule presence at Haji Ali and Worli. The court also said the project also required approvals under the Wildlife Protection Act, 1972.
Though CRZ clearance from the MoEF had been obtained, the HC said the BMC couldn't proceed with work on the project.